Dog park seeking funding

FAIRMONT – Beth Haskins, president of the Fairmont Area Dog Park Committee, likes to quote a pastor who addressed his congregation about paying for some badly needed roof repairs.

“The good news is that we have the money; the bad news is that it’s still in your pockets,” Haskins said.

The committee hopes an uptick in donations will be enough to generate visible progress in the project.

“What we need to see is a sign that says ‘Future Dog Park,'” Haskins said.

The proposed site is on city-owned land near Fairmont Aquatic Park. According to city staff, the site received the recommendation from the Park Board, although nothing has been finalized.

The committee first approached city staff last October and set an initial fundraising goal of $15,000. Currently, more than $6,000 has been raised.

“We’ve gotten two quotes from fence builders. Both were on the average of $15,000 for fences, benches and signs,” Haskins said.

Future projects include electrical for lighting, and plumbing for a drinking station.

Fundraising efforts are ongoing. Last year, the group sponsored a weekend event offering people the opportunity to have their pet’s photograph taken with Santa. The group raised $1,000 that weekend, an amount matched by Margo Harris.

The recent Market Square event at Heritage Acres, held on a rainy Saturday afternoon, “still brought in $200,” said Judy Wachholz, who handles public relations for the committee.

The committee currently has two giving opportunities – a brick campaign and engraved plaques.

Brick pavers, measuring 4-by-8 inches, are laser engraved with a message to honor favorite pets, people, places or groups, and can be obtained for a minimum $50 donation.

“It’s a great way to honor or remember a pet,” said Sonja Fortune, committee treasurer.

Engraved plaques are available in various sizes, depending on the amount of the donation: one paw, $250; two paws, $500; three paws, $1,000; and four paws with a personalized gold plate of choice, $2,500. These horizontal plaques can carry a personal message or company logo at the dog park.

And donations of all amounts will be accepted with gratitude.

“Monetary donations can be dropped off at Public Utilities [in City Hall],” Fortune said. “We’re not a non-profit, but donations are tax-deductible because it’s a public purpose. It’s important for people to know that.”

Fortune said the proposed dog park is almost 2 acres in size and will have two separate runs, one for big dogs and one for small dogs.

The committee can be contacted by email at park4dogsfairmontmn@gmail.com, and can be followed on Facebook.